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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 6 to Thursday February 13

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday February 7. Jupiter is the brightest object in the evening sky, visible all night. Jupiter is close to the Moon on Tuesday February 11. Mars is prominent in the early morning but now enters the evening sky. Saturn rises higher in the morning sky. Venus is bright low in the morning sky.

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday February 7. The Moon is at apogee, furthest from the Earth, on Februrary 11.


Evening sky on Tuesday February 11 looking north  as seen from Adelaide at 21:30 pm ACDST in South Australia. The inset shows the view of Jupiter through a telescope at this time. All the Moons are lined up on one side of Jupiter.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is in the constellation Gemini. It is the brightest object in the evening sky. Jupiter was at opposition on the 6th of January, when it was brightest and closest to Earth, but will remain bright and easily observable in telescopes for several months.

Jupiter
rises around 18:00 pm local daylight saving time, and is highest just before 11 pm local daylight saving time. It is high enough to begin observing telescopically in the early to mid evening.  

In the early evening it is above the north-eastern horizon near the bright stars Castor and Pollux, the twins of Gemini. Jupiter is quite easy to see as the brightest object in the entire sky.  Jupiter's Moons are readily visible in binoculars. 

February 11 has an interesting patten of Jovian Moons, with all the Moons lined up on one side of Jupiter. On February 14, at 12:30 am AEDST, midnight ACDST and 9:00 pm on the 13th AWST Europa and its shadow are on the face of Jupiter.

Morning sky on Sunday February 9 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 am ACDST in South Australia. Mars is near the bright star Spica, Saturn is  near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion.  Crescent Venus is above the horizon. The inset show the telescopic view at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).


Venus is in the morning sky,  low above the eastern horizon.  it is now easy to see in the morning twilight, and reaches maximum brightness next week. Venus rises progressively higher during the week, and is a distinct crescent shape.

Mars rises just before midnight, but is still best seen when high in the morning sky, and is visible well before twilight. Mars is is in the constellation of Virgo near the bright star Spica.

 Saturn is visible above the eastern horizon before dawn. Saturn is in Libra near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion.  It is  high enough in the early morning for decent telescopic observation.
 
Mercury  is lost in the twilight.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Venus so prominent in the sky.  If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEDST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.

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